Perceptions determine how you experience things. A bad breakup, a confrontation, criticism, a loss, or any life-changing event. If you can focus on changing your perspective, what you will find is that what you are looking at will also change.
It is within your power to choose how you experience anything in your life.
You lost your job, your source of income and security. You can be upset and angry and let that fester. Or you can choose to recognise this as a new opportunity, suddenly you have time breathe, think and see the other paths in your life, now you have time to invest in your family and passions. Find a job that really suits who you are and satisfies you. This plays into the common saying “when one door closes, another one opens” as much as we know this, we also need to take initiative. Opportunities don’t always just fall in your lap, you need to create them. Put yourself out there.
Maybe your relationship is on the rocks or it has just fallen apart. Of course, you will be upset, maybe even angry, but to what end? To feel more pain? Change your perception of the situation, remove the victim from your mind and see the opportunities. What went wrong? How can you learn from this? Did I behave in some way that eroded the relationship? Great! The universe has given you time to be alone, take advantage now. Learn about yourself, focus on what you love, and focus on your personal growth and goals. Teach yourself how to heal and develop as a unique individual. Take the lessons from that relationship and improve upon them in the next one. However, be sure to take your time.
Loss of any kind will present you an opportunity for deep reflection. Life will challenge you, it will test you and ultimately it rests on you to learn how to overcome the obstacles in your life. Let these experiences build you up, not break you down. That is YOUR choice.
This isn’t a half glass full analogy, a positive attitude can only get you so far. It is about recognising that in every situation is opportunity and developing the sense to take control of the only thing you can, yourself.
- Is what you’re doing now, adding value to your life?
- What small change could you make today, that if you did consistently would change your life?
- Some relationships should be mended, some should be abandoned; today was always the right time.
- Charity is for your own wellbeing. Give your time, care, love and help.
Allow yourself more opportunities for personal growth.
- As Stephen Covey said “There’s a small space between stimulus and response, how you react is your choice” – Internalise this idea and say it to yourself when you are being stressed.
- Understand that the opinions of others do not matter, only what you think of yourself. If we let the opinions of others effect us, then we are giving them power over us.
- Realise that you are not perfect and that you will make mistakes. Choose to think of your mistakes as opportunities for growth and learning, then you will be able to let go of the pain of your regrets and rebuild your confidence.
- You are what you believe yourself to be. Believe that you are unworthy and you will be unworthy, believe that you are a strong, powerful and confident individual, feel it, act it and you will become it. Practice letting go of your self doubt and insecurities.
- Visualise your biggest fears and then visualise responding to those fears with acceptance, strength and confidence. Learn to face those fears in your mind, and you will make yourself expertly prepared to deal with that outcome, should it ever arise. Do this everyday until you are comfortable with it.
- Your life is starting to revolve around your work
- You’ve stopped listening to your partner
- You’re no longer invested in your sex life
- You’ve stopped investing in your appearance and health
- You’ve stopped communicating
- You’re fighting for the sake of fighting
- You’re avoiding your partner
- You’ve been thinking (or moving) beyond your relationship
- You say hurtful things
- You’re not emotionally supportive
- You’re not willing to change things
- You think it’s always your partners fault
Do you want to change?
Acknowledge there’s an issue, start by communicating those issues calmly. Express your desire to change the status quo and start my tackling one thing at a time, change will come with time and patience.
Have you ever felt like you’re saying the same things over and over again and what you’re saying just isn’t getting through to your partner? or maybe they’re telling you that “you promised me last time that you wouldn’t do X, but you always do”.
That was me, being told over and over, that I keep making the same mistakes, but in my mind.. “it’s just the way I am”, or I would feel justified in my action “but you keep doing this thing that makes me do act this way! what do you expect?!”.
I wasn’t listening, I felt like I wasn’t being heard either. My partner clearly expressed her emotions, but I couldn’t. I couldn’t hear them over my own thoughts and rebuttals and I wasn’t feeling heard because I wasn’t taking the time to think about my problems or how I truly felt and took even less time to communicate them clearly.
Communication is the bedrock of a healthy relationship, whether at home, at work or with friends or with anyone you come across in your life. If you can communicate well, you can solve your problems or they’ll continue to erode your relationships time and time again as I learned.
So, how can we communicate more effectively? As Epictetus once said “we have two ears and one mouth so we can listen twice as much as we speak”
Start by listening first and before you respond really think about what is being communicated to you, sometimes it won’t always be clear, and sometimes your partner will also be a poor communicator but if you can make a conscious effort to listen and understand.. well half the job is done.
Conscious listening or active listening is the process of listening attentively, trying to understand and reflect on what is being said and remembering it. If we all did this a little more, we would have a lot less conflict in our lives. Ask yourself, what is my partner trying to communicate to me? What can I learn from this? How do I contribute to the problem? Is it within my control?
One of the hardest things for us to do, myself included is to admit your part in the problem and acknowledge that it takes two to tango and understand why you’re behaving a certain way. But this is the first step forward, this will allow us to see more clearly the issues at hand. Then we can learn to trace back, through time, through arguments, through misunderstandings the root cause of the issue.
- if your partner is communicating a problem, reiterate the problem back to them. This will show them that you’re present and listening. It will also give you pause, time enough to think rather than immediately react.
- Ask yourself, what is my partner trying to communicate to me?
- How do I contribute to the problem?
- Is it within my control?
- What can I do to change this?
- Acknowledge your issues and the problem
- Make a plan to address the problem and involve your partner. Remember, it’s both of you vs. the problem, not each other.
- Create a strong visual anchor in your mind, make it vivid, feel and experience it. This should be a thing, place or person, or any combination that makes you feel at peace and calm. Allow yourself the time to connect to this visualisation. – When you find your mind wondering to places you don’t want to go. Tell yourself “no”, and then take yourself to your anchor. Use this anchor to bring you to the present. This will help you from fixating and practice will make it stronger.
- Visualise yourself as a third person viewing your thoughts in a painting, on TV, or through some external form. When you can dissociate yourself from your thoughts you will realise that, YOU aren’t your thoughts. This process may be difficult to do, some people like to imagine themselves sitting in a large chair watching their thoughts on TV and analysing them, seeing them pass through their mind. You can imagine paintings of your thoughts, the ones that are negative, bin them and burn them. Watch the paintings burn and let yourself be released of their energy. Do what feels comfortable for you.
- Find a creative outlet, if your thoughts or anxiety or emotions are getting the better of you. Pour that energy somewhere else don’t let it sit inside and poison you, try painting, drawing, exercise, anything that allows you to transfer energy out.
“The impediment to action, advances action. What stands in the way, becomes the way” – Marcus Aurelias
Habits define who we are and how we behave. They are our internal programming that dictates the terms of our lives and how we perceive our environment, how we interact and how we live. As Bob Proctor says, “you are your habits, if you wish to change who you are then first change your habits. “
Who do you want to be?
Make a conscious decision to commit to yourself. You are the habits you have, so do more of what you know you need to. If you read 10mins a day, after a while you’re going to become a reader, if you write 10mins a day, you’re going to become a writer. There’s no time like the present. Be more of who you want to be, and leave excuses for everyone else.
James Clear’s book ‘Atomic Habits’ discusses some great ideas. A note-worthy tip is “Habit Stacking”, add your new habit directly before or after a habit you already have. Make it easy for you to commit to the changes you want to see.
Empower yourself to change your paradigm, re-write your behaviour and find joy in the process. The compounded effect of your continued commitment will create your new paradigm. Unfortunately, there’s a flip side. The compounded effect of continuing the things you know don’t help you will only serve to increase your issues, self-loathing, regret or whatever your dark mind likes to feed on.
So, visualise the changes you want every day, see and really feel the differences that you’re trying to achieve, your mind is a powerful tool. Let yourself feel the success of the changes you’ve made you can start shifting your identity towards your new goals and the habits you’re creating.
Start small, focus on creating systems that support you.